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OTR suits never fit my shoulders--should I go MTM (or bespoke) for my wedding?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I've been shopping for a suit to wear for my wedding at the end of May (which is 10 weeks from now), and I've run into a lot of trouble. I have a slender frame with narrow, asymmetrical, sloping shoulders (upper body pic attached), and I've never been able to find an OTR jacket that fits my shoulders. I was in Brooks Borthers today, and even a 36 Milano fails the "wall test": the suit shoulders don't go as far past mine as the do in any other suit, but there's still some overhang, and there's also a vertical gap between my shoulders and the bottom of the jacket's shoulder pads. At both Brooks Brothers and Wilkes Bashford, the sales associates' advice was to go custom (and at Wilkes I know it wasn't just an upsell, since the cost was going to be the same OTR vs MTM). Now, $3000 for a custom Zegna isn't in my budget, and I'd really prefer not to spend the $1600+ for the Brooks Brothers MTM, either, so I'm hoping to get some input on what my best course of action might be. From what I've read, it seems like it's possible to get a much better value from internet MTM companies than from one of these retail stores.


I've read the general SF advice that men who are new to buying suits should generally stick to OTR until they have a good idea of what they like and don't like in a suit. I know that your first MTM suit isn't necessarily going to fit perfectly and it's an ongoing process to dial in the exact thing you want, especially when looking at an internet MTM company, so it usually only makes sense for someone who wants/needs many suits. Right now I just own one ill-fitting Men's Wearhouse suit, and I'm just hoping to buy a nice mid-grey for my wedding (and to wear to future weddings and other social events). If the need arises in the future, I could see myself getting a navy or charcoal, but that would probably be all. I don't anticipate having a job that requires suits at any point in the future. However, given the advice I'm getting from sales guys, it seems like it just won't be possible to find a decent fit OTR. Should I try going MTM, and if so, who should I be considering?


Right now, I'm mainly looking at Dragon Inside, Proper Suit, and Kent Wang. I'm near San Francisco, so I would be able to have an in-person fitting with Proper Suit, whereas I'd be relying on measurements made by my fiancee for Dragon Inside, or trying to suggest changes based on Kent Wang's sample suit. I've read great things about Kent Wang here on SF, but I'm a little worried about getting things wrong since I won't have an in-person fitting and he (quite reasonably) doesn't allow returns on custom suits. I like the idea of having a fitting with Proper Suit, but I've read that they may not offer as great a value for the money (their fully canvassed suits start at $850, but may not be as good at Kent Wang's at $800 or Dragon Inside's at $500). Dragon Inside would save me some money, and they offer free remakes/returns, but I'm worried about making all the measurements myself. Do you have any feedback on which might be the best route to explore? Are there other options I should be considering?


Edit: After seeing some of the feedback here, it sounds like seeing a tailor in-person for a true bespoke process (with multiple fittings using a basted suit) may really be my only hope for a good fit. Some initial suggestions in the San Francisco area were Spoon Tailors and Beckett and Robb, and I also saw Jay Hampton and Al's Attire mentioned elsewhere on SF. Please let me know if you have any input on these options, or other suggestions for tailors in my area that I could check out. Or, if you think that MTM might still be an option for me, please weigh in as well.


Thanks for your help!

Edited by suitnewb - 3/24/14 at 8:29am
post #2 of 10
I am not sure that MTM would really work for you.
Typically, with MTM one gets a standard model
modified with relatively minor changes, like
two or three buttons, slightly different lapels,
vents, etc. Unless a basic model fits in the shoulders
and chest, one is not that much better off than OTR.
With that in mind, I would go local, with the frm's measuring
you and try-on(s). Have you considered Spoon Tailors
in San Francisco? Several SF members like their work.
Edited by comrade - 3/23/14 at 6:08pm
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input, comrade. I'll certainly check out Spoon Tailors (and I'm in the middle of reading through the thread you linked to). Sounds like they could be a great way to go.


Is it true that the MTM options don't really make changes based on fit? I know that you do get to make customization choices about pockets, lapels, etc., but I thought that fit was a big component of what they do as well. I know that Proper Suit creates a custom CAD model based on an in-person measurement session.


The other two options I mentioned may be more like what you described, but I'm not sure. Dragon Inside certainly gives me the impression that they take great care with shoulder fit--in addition to measurement numbers, they ask for several photos including a shoulder close-up with a measuring tape in place--but of course it's possible that they aren't really able to do much customization for someone like me. Kent Wang's process starts with him sending a RTW suit that should be the closest shoulder fit (with choices all the way down to a 34 chest), and then discussing modifications from there, so I guess that does sound more like alterations to a standard model rather than designing a custom pattern.

post #4 of 10
I think unless you can solve some of your structural problem with posture changes, you are definitely looking at having to visit a good tailor in person or at least provide them with a pile of pictures to go with any dimensions.
post #5 of 10

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there is Beckett and Robb in the SF area and I've heard great comments about them, although I've never tried myself. Might be a little over your budget though, I'm not so sure. Jason, the guy running Broke and Bespoke, had a review of one of their suits a couple of months ago. I know he's a member here but I'm not sure what's his username on SF. Might try PM'ing him!


About your suiting problem, I sympathize, because I'm in the same boat. Wedding is mid-July and I'm also needing to go the MTM route as OTR suits never fit right in the shoulders..

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you guys for weighing in and suggesting these true bespoke options for me. It sounds like that might be the only way for me to find a suit that really fits me (but if there's anyone who thinks otherwise, I'd love to hear from you). I appreciate all the references/recommendations/reviews you're providing. I also saw Jay Hampton Tailors mentioned in the thread on Spoon that comrade posted--anyone have experience with them?

post #7 of 10
Proper suit and Beckett and Bob are both "semi-bespoke" correct.?
I visited both via Style Forum meet-ups, but was not in the market
for a suit or jacket. Besides, the last few years I have been wearing high-end
RTW, the bespoke version of which I could neither afford, nor is locally
available. Nor do I have trouble getting OTR jackets that fit me. My difficulty
is finding clothes in the Bay Area, which I would even wish to try-on.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Comrade, you are correct. Both Proper Suit and Beckett and Robb do a made-to-measure suit based on an initial in-person measurement session, followed by a final fitting once the suit has been made. Spoon and Jay Hampton both offer intermediary fittings with a suit that has been basted together, although from my brief research it sounds like Spoon will do several of these whereas Jay Hampton likes to only do one.

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Having read through the thread on Spoon Tailoring, it sounds like they're one of my best chances for getting a suit that fits, within my budget and timeline. However, I'm a little worried about going with them because of my inexperience. Many of the people in that thread suggest that while they're happy to make whatever suit you want, you'll have to speak up during the fittings to point out exactly what that is, or else they're likely to make a boring sack suit. This suit is for occasional use, and I want to be able to wear it for years (decades?) to come, so I'm not looking for anything edgy or trendy, but I would like it to be flattering on my body. I'm worried that I won't know the right things to ask for in terms of waist suppression, lapel size, buttoning point, jacket length, etc. I could probably bring in pictures of things I like on other people, but it sounds like that may not get me all the way. Any tips for what I can do to guide things in the right direction? Are there other tailors in the area that might be better for me, given my limited experience?



post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

OK, Dragon Inside convinced me to give them a shot. I sent them that picture and they said they can definitely make a jacket that fits me. With their quick turnaround and satisfaction guarantee, I know that if they don't work out I can always return the suit and go with Spoon. A quick styling question, though. I've placed an order for the Smart Grey Suit, pictured below. From the picture, it appears that they default to a pretty high gorge and button stance--I know that is the style today, but I'd like something a little more classic. Would it make sense for me to ask for both of these to be moved down a touch? If so, how much do you think for each?

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